Networks of Corruption: The Aesthetics of Mark Lombardi’s Relational Diagrams

Jakub Zdebik


Mark Lombardi’s works consist of diagrams plotting clandestine networks of power. His drawings are like maps charting, with the help of curves, traits and arcs, the way corporations are able to hide from public view large amounts of money while at the same time consolidating the sphere of influence held by leaders of industry as well as politicians. Lombardi is here compared to Hans Haacke, Josh On, and Bureau d’études, artists whose works consist of creating diagrams that bring to light corruption. With the help of Susan Buck-Morss’s theories, which trace the genesis of visual representation of economic relations back to the eighteenth century, this article focuses on strategies enacted to make visible the incorporeal relations weaved by diagrams and economic schemas. Furthermore, by bringing together the concept of the rhizome—that Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari combine with decalcomania and cartography—with the concept of the diagram, as it is elucidated in Foucault, this article brings attention to the aesthetic aspect of the organization of information. It is this double analysis of Buck-Morss and Deleuze and Guattari that will effectively make possible the dynamic and virtual aspect of trajectories that Lombardi traces on paper to unveil networks of corrupted power.



Mark Lombardi; Contemporary Visual Arts; Diagrams and Visuality; Deleuze and Guattari, Buck-Morss, Capitalism; Visual Theory; Economy

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